If you live somewhere up north and you're still debating whether to come to Spring Hill, Florida some time soon or not, look out your window and then look at the two photos below, taken in my neighbors' front yard two days ago. What would you rather have: Spring Festival in Spring Hill - or snow and cold? . .
If you have an hour to spare and you're in a mood for some good Slovenian style polka music, watch the video below. Underneath the video I am including a short transcript (since the whole thing is in Slovenian language), the list of performers and some information about the musicians.
Please let me know if you enjoyed this post. In case I get a good feedback, I'll do something like this again, soon.
Video above - Slovenian style polka music: "Polka in Majolka" (Polka and Maiolica) TV show, recorded at the Faraon (Pharaoh) Hotel in Celje - Part 1
Commercial time is very limited, there's some talking in Slovenian - but for the most part, lots of good polka music by seven polka bands and one individual diatonic accordion player. Enjoy!! :)
@ 01:50 new theme song for the 2010 "Polka in Majolka" (Polka and Maiolica) TV show, performed by "Ansambel Azalea" (Azalea Ensemble) and "Navihani muzikanti" (Naughty Musicians)
@ 05:50 waltz "Na Golte" by "Ansambel Golte." Golte Ensemble comes from the area or Mount Golte, also a popular ski resort. One of their polkas was awarded the title "most popular polka of the year 2009."
@ 10:55 polka "Vroča kri" (Hot blood) by "Ansambel Golte."
@ 14:10 polka "Zasuči me" by "Navihanke" (Naughty Girls) - all-girls college students band. The song is about dancing: turn, turn, turn me around...
@ 19:33 polka "Študentska je težka" (Students' Life Is Tough) - by "Navihanke." The title of this tune appears to be descriptive enough - it's about the difficult life of the students, especially after too much partying and exams approaching... :)
@ 23:25 polka "Moja šoferka" (My She-Chauffeur) by "Mladi godci" (Young Fiddlers) from Horjul.
@ 32:47 polka "Naj pesem zazveni" by the legendary vocalist Rudi Šantel and his "Šank kvintet"
@ 36:21 polka by "Družina Ferme" (Family Ferme) from Vrhnika (also the town where the most famous Slovenian doughnuts come from). Ferme family is likewise known for manufacturing of button accordions ("Goti" brand). Each of the members (father, two sons and a daughter) plays several instruments.
@ 43:10 another polka by "Družina Ferme" - talking about the tough times dad has when his daughter is growing into a young woman.
@ 46:55 polka by young diatonic accordion player Domen Hohler. He first started playing button accordion three years and a half ago.
@ 50:07 polka performed by "Ansambel Križman" (Križman Ensemble). The band leader (accordion player) is Slovenian, born in Australia. He recently returned to Slovenia and started his own band. To cope with the cold, he goes to the sauna every day - and wears gloves... :) He also writes all the music - and lyrics are put together by band's guitarist, Valentin Antonio.
@ 55:43 polka "Moj napev" (My Tune) by "Ansambel Križman"
It takes more then lace and ribbons And lovely verses too, To make a Valentine Thats nice enough for you It takes a world of special thoughts Tucked into every line And that's exactly what you'll find Inside this Valentine. . .
Photo above: "Gingerbread hearts piled-up" (lectovi srčki na kupu) - courtesy of http://www.slovenian-alps.com . .
These are the kind of hearts (see photo above) that men and boys in Slovenia traditionally gave to their Valentines - sweethearts - throughout the year.
They are made of gingerbread, richly decorated and usually carry a meaningful message on a piece of paper, attached in the middle.
In the past these "lectova srca" (gingerbread hearts) were mostly available at the fairs on holidays and they were hand made by craftsmen making bee/honey/bees-wax related products. This craft has a long tradition in Slovenia. It is called "medičarstvo."
And - in case you're wondering, when received from the right person, these gingerbreads weren't eaten but saved and cherished for years... :)
at the XXII Polkas International Award Show in Cleveland, Ohio
is also a waltz
THE HAPPY ACCORDION
by famous Slovenian composer and band leader Lojze Slak.
In the video below, Bobby Kravos with Walter Ostanek and the Boys In The Band was kind enough to perform it for me while playing at our SNPJ 778 Spring Hill hall on January 30:
Glas harmonike waltz has been widely performed and recorded by button box groups and polka bands across the Cleveland-Style music scene.
In 1970 the Lojze Slak Trio from Slovenia, with vocalists Fantje s Praprotna toured the United States. Lojze Slak managed to bring old-fashioned button box music to the forefront with the polkas and waltzes he wrote and played on the diatonic accordion, and instrument that was popular between the World Wars.
In 1973 Fanika Pozek wrote lyrics about the sound of the accordion and Lojze Slak was so enraptured by the words that he immediately composed a melody for "Glas harmonike." The waltz became the title song of Slak's new album.
Glas harmonike quickly became a sing-along favorite, transcending the limits of language with the uplifting "la-la-la" refrain.
In the U.S., Cecilia Dolgan restyled the Slovenian lyrics into English and captured a new audience for the tune under the name of "The Happy Accordion." Many button box players have made it a standard in their repertoires.
In the next video, there's Glas Harmonike again, this time performed by well established Slovenian ensemble Spev. Beautiful singing, typical Slovenian landscape and traditional architecture - and (of course!) the one thing that's never missing in any kind of Slovenian celebration - vino (wine). Check it out, it's well worth seeing! :) . .
Slovenian lyrics to Glas Harmonike waltz:
Nocoj je glas harmonike
spomine spet predramil.
Nekoc ta glas mehak in blag,
srce mi je omamil.
Le da tedaj je ta napev
bil mnogo, mnogo bolj vesel.
In fant, ki je takrat igral
si mene je izbral.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la...
The last video in today's post was taken this past Thanksgiving at the Awards Show XXII at Slovenian National Home in Cleveland, Ohio. "Glas Harmonike" for the third time - performed by Kathy Hlad (button accordion), Mi Smo Mi Mens Choir & Cecilia Dolgan. Lyrics sang in Slovenian by Mi Smo Mi first and then in English by Cecilia Dolgan. .
English lyrics to Glas Harmonike (The Happy Accordion) waltz:
Tonight the old accordion plays, So very sweet and tender, The songs we used to sing-along, When we were young, remember? The memories of days gone by, And happy times together, Still echo like this melody. Come sing-along with me. La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la... I love to hear an accordion play, Singing and dancing the night away. La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la... Join in the crowd as we gather 'round The Happy Accordion sound. . . ***
Unfortunately, I missed the whole Jam Session at the dance with Bob Kravos and Walter Ostanek but I did manage to take some tunes during the Frank Moravcik weekend and here (below) is the list of them.
Like before, simply click on the title of the song and a new window (with the video) will open:
I have quite a few videos from the past two weekends (three dances) and it would take me a while to publish them all here, in the blog posts.
For the last nine days or so I've been fixing and uploading these videos and now that they are all live/published online, they deserve to be seen, especially by the people (You!) - who are in these videos.
They all turned out pretty good so I'm listing them all here for you just might see yourself dancing... :)
Click on the title of the tune and a new window with that particular video will open.
Youtube videos - Frank Moravcik weekend 2010 (Snowflake Dance, January 23 & 24)
We had great crowds and lots of fun with Bob Kravos, Walter Ostanek and The Boys In The Band on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at our SNPJ Spring Hill hall.
Photo above: Bob Kravos (accordion), Walter Ostanek (accordion) and John Gerl (drums) playing at SNPJ 778 Spring Hill
Since January 30th is also Bob's birthday and he had to play to himself by himself on his special day, I asked him to play his favorite tune. He chose Moje dekle, beautiful Slovenian folk song.
So, this video below is what all of us created together: Bob Kravos and The Boys In The Band with their music, some ladies with pompoms and baloons, dancers and those who came to just sit and enjoy the happy polka music, all the volunteers making sure everything ran smoothly and myself with my Flip camera:
Video above: Bob Kravos, Walter Ostanek and The Boys In The Band playing Moje dekle, the opening of the dance at Suncoast Dance and Party Center in Spring Hill
This was the beginning of fun evening. We again had quite a few new visitors and before we wrapped things up, many people stopped at my table and thanked me for the hospitality and good times they had. That was very heart-warming, thank you all!
Another thing that made my heart sing was seeing John, helping Nezka at the bar again. Thank you both, John and Doris Laurich for your help on Saturday. We all missed you very much!!
If you're reading this and are not yet subscribed to SNPJ 778 - Slovene-American Club in Spring Hill newsletter, I'd like you to know that there are two ways to subscribe - and never miss another dance at our hall:
Use the form in the side bar (top right) or
Take a look at the ticket you received when you paid for your admission. On the back of the ticket there's my email - send me a note and I'll add your name and address to the list of subscribers.
Thank you all for coming, for enjoying the food, dancing and music, thank you for buying the raffle tickets and thank you for visiting this website. I'll be adding more stuff daily (have a lot more photos and videos). The latest post is always at the top of the page.
And... one more time: Happy Birthday, Bob Kravos!! :)